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What is a clean method of running cables from one side of a wall to the other side, in a typical residential house? On one side of the wall will be a computer tower, and on the other side will the the user interface devices (monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc). Cables will be rarely added or removed, so it doesn't need to be convenient but must be possible.

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    When shopping for parts, also invest in a stud finder that will identify whether there are pipes or electrical cables behind the drywall. They cost about $20 and will save you expensive repair bills. – kdgregory Dec 31 '15 at 19:55
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    Some stores usedto carry cover plates that could accept several kinds of snap-in connector blocks -- video coax, RCA connectors, speaker terminals. I once used those to run line-level audio from one room to another. – keshlam Jan 1 '16 at 3:39
  • You may want to clarify: do you only care about running cables vertically? Or is it important to run them horizontally longer than ~16 inches? The accepted answer is perfect for runs between two studs, but if you need to run cables across studs, things get a lot more complicated: considerable drywall removal, drilling through studs, running conduit. – Joe Shaw Jan 6 '16 at 13:49
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There is a quick and easy way to do this, no special tools, $10 of parts, 20 minutes work if all goes well.

Cut in an old work low voltage mounting bracket on either side of the wall, back to back

Arlington LV1

and use a "duckbill" cover for a finished appearance, (the one in the photo is an Arlington CE1)

Arlington CE1

All you need to do this is

  • a level to make sure you position the bracket straight / square,
  • a pencil to mark the outline of the bracket,
  • a drywall saw to cut a hole for the bracket,
  • a screwdriver to screw the bracket in, and screw the duckbill on,
  • and optionally a studfinder to make sure you pick a clear hollow spot.

When you pick your spot, try to match the height of any nearby electrical receptacles. Try to stay well away from studs. You can use a studfinder, or look for the nails holding the base molding to the wall - those will be nailed into the studs. You can also turn off the breaker for a receptacle and take the cover plate off, you'll probably see the box is nailed to a stud, and you can go on the other side of that stud.

When you cut the hole for the bracket, make a horizontal cut first so you can adjust if you miscalculate and hit a stud. Don't plunge the saw in - take your time, use just a couple inches of the blade, just in case there's something behind there you don't want to hit.

edit After you cut in the first bracket, move any insulation and poke the drywall saw through to the other side, just enough to pierce the drywall so you can place the bracket on the other side of the wall.

If you stop using the pass-through some time in the future, you can just remove the duckbills and put blank covers on.

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    This looks perfect, thank you. I tried googling "duckbill" and "duckbill wall cover" but wasn't able to find anything related to this, a reverse image search found what I was looking for and the term stores seem to be using is "recessed wall plate". Just to confirm, after the installation is complete, this will result in direct access to the space inside the wall if I wanted to prod around in there, is that correct? – dtgq Dec 31 '15 at 9:32
  • also editing answer... – batsplatsterson Dec 31 '15 at 9:40
  • Use search terms "Low-Voltage Cable Entrance Plate" in Amazon to find places to buy them. – Michael Karas Dec 31 '15 at 11:20
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I am confused about what "one side of a wall to the other side" means. Does it mean through the wall (from one room to the other) or from the left side of the wall to the right side of the wall in the same room? The answer from batsplatsterson is great if running a wire through a wall (or even up a wall from a low point to a higher point). But it will not work if running a wire from left to right on a wall - there will be studs in the way.

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